Friday, May 4, 2007

I Am A Musical Whore

The past few months have provided lots of musical excitement. I've got CDs coming from folks all over and it's absolutely wonderful. I joke with my friends about my many musical affairs. I am such a whore... I'll trade mix CDs with anyone who's willing!

I once met a musical partner in Mt. Airy by accident. I overheard a conversation this old-time banjo player was having about a mix CD that a friend gave him. As he was describing the songs, I realized that it was one of my mine! I introduced myself and we instantly connected musically. We had an amazing ongoing musical affair for a couple years. He would send me multiple mini discs of these crazy old ska 45's that he very roughly recorded and collections of dirty blues songs. I'd send him mixes of food songs, dirty R&B, silly old country songs and indie pop. I haven't heard from him in years, but I still send him a mix CD every now and then.

Christa and I started our affair in the late 90s, when she cohosted a few Thursday Night Features on WXYC with me. We'd do these three-hour shows on dreamy vocalists from the 40s and 50s and we's share tapes or CDs of our favorites. And then there were the tapes of our annual Bettyfest on Divaville at WXDU. Our musical affair continues to this day. She is the only person around who I can geek with on the best decade of Bobby Darin's career, the slur in Sarah Vaughan's voice, or the best version of "The Way You Look Tonight."

Back then, WXYC led me to another musical partner. A listener in Brazil had loved one of my shows and emailed the station to find out who I was. I can't remember his name. He was obsessed with Superchunk and I was obsessed with Latin psychedelic music and Carmen Miranda. Our musical affair was beautiful. He would go absolutely nuts when he received a stack of autographed Superchunk CDs in the mail.

There was also Jason. Over the course of many years, I'd get a phone call every few months: "Dude, whatcha doin' tonight? Well, ya see, I need your help, Charlotte. Can I come over?" We'd pull out the bourbon and cigarettes and I'd listen to his sometimes dire stories of his romantic relationships. His stories would end with "What should I do, Charlotte?!? I really like her!"

My response: "We have to make her a mix tape!" Concocting a mix tape on cassette would usually take us all night since we were recording in real time and we never managed to hit the stop button at the right moment. And then there was the discussion of the lyrics... everything had to be perfect. We couldn't give off the wrong impression!!! Our mix tapes of woo always seemed to work for Jason. I know what girls want. A couple years ago, the night before Jason moved across the country, we made our last mix tape together. We made a pact that twice a year, we'd make mix CDs for each other. It worked for a little while, but alas that musical relationship has fizzled, too. (Jason, come back!!! I need your mix!)

I have been having an ongoing musical affair for the past couple years with my friend, Lightnin'. I saw him about a month ago and found out that when I was going through my Donovan obsession, he was on a Donovan kick at the same time. How cool is that!? He's sent me some great ukulele music, some crazy calypso, yodeling, and we even swapped comfort CDs.

Every now and I then I am invited to be in a musical orgy, more politely called Mix Tape Club. I am currently having musical relations with a bunch of folks in Manhattan, some of whom I will never meet. There's 12 of us and each month one person mails out a CD to the rest of the group. It's thrilling!! My month is July which is National Hotdog Month... heh heh heh.

3 comments:

Gye Greene said...

Interesting post! Brings up interesting ethical issues about copyright.

As an [obscure, non-famous] songwriter, my personal opinion is that as long as it's small-scale, and for "missionary" purposes (i.e. turning someone on to an obscure band or artist), it's justifiable. If it's to save yourself the cost of an album, then it's cheeseball.

And if you're cranking out copies of albums left and right, and selling them for $$$ -- **that's** when you should start suing folks.

IMO. ;)


--GG

Gye Greene said...

Oh: by ''it'', I was referring to copying and spreading about recordings of songs.

Songwriters gots to earn money. But on the other hand, they also need people to actually **hear** of them.

So hopefully, by spreading around a few songs, people will actually go out and buy (on in this modern world, pay to download). their album.


--GG

Charo said...

I know what you mean. I worked for a small record label for awhile and this topic was discussed at great length. I think that my whoring is on such a small scale that I am not hurting anyone's career by trading music. And most of the stuff that I end up trading (especially with Christa and Lightnin') are rare, out-of-print recordings, 78 recordings or from people who died long ago. One artist sent me an email once that he was honored to find one of his songs on a mix tape of mine.